Masterstroke

A 12-year-old boy was determined to learn judo despite having lost his left arm in a car accident.

The boy started training with an experienced judo master. He was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, even after months of training the master taught him only one move.

“Sensei,” finally the boy asked, mustering courage “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept practicing.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. Also he was the reigning champion of last 4 years. It was quite a sight, with a big fighter taking on a one armed boy. The boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that he might get hurt, the referee called for a time-out. He was about to stop the match when sensei intervened.

“No,” the sensei insisted, “Let them continue.”

Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.

“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

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